cover of book

Reuse, Misuse, Abuse: The Ethics of Audiovisual Appropriation in the Digital Era
by Jaimie Baron
Rutgers University Press, 2021
Cloth: 978-0-8135-9927-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8135-9928-1 | Paper: 978-0-8135-9926-7
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.S6964B37 2020
Dewey Decimal Classification 070.195

In contemporary culture, existing audiovisual recordings are constantly reused and repurposed for various ends, raising questions regarding the ethics of such appropriations, particularly when the recording  depicts actual people and events. Every reuse of a preexisting recording is, on some level, a misuse in that it was not intended or at least anticipated by the original maker, but not all misuses are necessarily unethical. In fact, there are many instances of productive misuse that seem justified. At the same time, there are other instances in which the misuse shades into abuse. Documentary scholars have long engaged with the question of the ethical responsibility of documentary makers in relation to their subjects. But what happens when this responsibility is set at a remove, when the recording already exists for the taking and repurposing? Reuse, Misuse and Abuse surveys a range of contemporary films and videos that appropriate preexisting footage and attempts to theorize their ethical implications.
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